Part of the What You Leave Behind Arc
Summary: Beldur confers with Lionel on the state of the new conflict with Kahran. The arrival of two Frost Giant nobles sparks a new quest for Beldur when Lionel assigns them to the knight-errant's protection. If he can keep them safe and defend their Southern Sage retreat, he may earn significant renown among Frostmaw's upper class.
Beldur :: The young drake would be sitting in his hood as he entered the tavern. The worn heavy plate resting upon the light gabeson. The young knight nods to Lionel. "Magesty, mind if I joined you? Master Lionel."
Lionel could have made a career out of staring into ale horns. He’d have been first in class, and he’d never have risked life and limb beyond liver damage. But if Lionel had ignored his more dangerous, adventurous calling, there might not be any ale horns left to stare into. Then again, he’s never had cause to believe that evil purges alcohol as it destroys innocent lives. Maybe Lionel really did miss the boat. He chuckles dryly and takes another swig as the knight errant Beldur approaches him with an inquiry. Lionel, dressed as he is in a crimson silk button-up with a ridiculous popped collar and the sort of black slacks that many girls have seen from behind as Krice has walked swiftly from town to town, looks less like a steward and more like a pop star. Today, he’s even fresh-bathed, although his growing beard and the half-healed cuts on his brow and cheek and jawline lend him a rough-and-tumbling countenance, like a pop star who got in over his head after one too many drinks. “Of course,” he says. “Take a seat. What’s the word? I’ve got a meeting with two posh nobles in about ten minutes, but you’re welcome to stick around for it if it suits you.”
Beldur ::His drake would climb from his hood. Relaxing on his shoulders like an extention of the fur that was over his cloak. His hand moving to point at Lionel's mug. "One for me, barkeep, and some raw meat for my drake if you have it." The armored hand moving to pet the small drake as he looks to Lionel. Shruging the armored shoulders as he smiles. "Sure, maybe I'll get noticed or something. I heard that a lot has been going on."
Lionel scratches his nose and feels a peculiar urge to sneeze. It goes away after a few seconds, although he can’t for the life of him figure out where it came from. “Yeah, I’d say so.” He sips his ale. “You and me, uh, we never really had the chance to talk much. You know, really talk. Not about business, but about ourselves. Trouble is, I pretty much begin and end at ‘business’, but not in that typical ‘duty, honor’ kind of way. I mean, I guess that tracks, too, but…” Lionel sighs, flustered with himself for his aimlessness. Drargon returns with a plate of raw goat meat and two horns of ale. One for Beldur, and a refill for Lionel. Drargon knows better than to let Lionel’s horn go dry, just as Lionel knows better than to ask Drargon about his scars. It dawns on Lionel that lately he’s been forced to open conversations with his associates specifically about his own scars -- and he has always felt just as veiled about it as the stout old barkeep. But time’s up and he’s got to start talking. “Here’s the thing, man. Little over a decade ago, some very bad people nearly destroyed this entire realm. My friends and I, we fought to stop that from happening. I came back to Lithrydel going on two years ago because I knew my job wasn’t finished. This?” He waves around the tavern, quiet at this hour. “Me, up here in Frostmaw? That wasn’t part of the plan. The Queen made it so, and I’m glad for it. But the plan was to get some good folks together and prepare for when those bastards came back. And… I think they have. Let me ask you something: have you heard what went down in Cenril last week?” Lionel gazes toward Beldur searchingly.
Beldur shrugs as he leans in his chair. "Honestly, bits and pieces." He nods in thanks as he takes a drink from his mug. The smaller drake would lung at the goat leg. As if it was prey before, rather cutely, roaring in victory. The errant mearly shakes his head at the childish drake as Lionel asked. "Mmm, I don't talk about myself, honestly. I do what I need to."
Lionel laughs. “And I respect that. Any other day, I’d be the first person agreeing with you. Hell, Beldur, I’d say half the reason we aren’t prepared for the sort of things that happened in Cenril is precisely because I wasn’t vocal enough.” He mock-salutes with his ale horn. “One week ago, Cenril was attacked by a man calling himself Kahran. He unleashed orcs, trolls, and other assorted nasties upon a ship during the city’s election night. Thousands died.” He pauses, his face suddenly quite serious. “Including both mayoral candidates. The city’s in chaos now, but a few good witches put up a magical barrier to prevent further invasion for the time being. Kahran’s ability to dispatch his horde via some kind of teleportation magic points the finger toward him being responsible for both attacks that have occurred here in Frostmaw over the past year. Now, I’ve got a working theory that he’s also played a role in plenty of other crap along the way. The saurians? The insectoids? The war with Larket?” Lionel watches Beldur’s little drake devour his meal. “My point is, Lithrydel is woefully unprepared. I need good people willing to walk boldly into danger. I need people to help shore up defenses from city to city -- not just Frostmaw, mind you, this threatens the entire continent. I need you.”
Beldur smirks as he lifts his horn to his lips. "I'm a knight errant, my job is to help. Just need to point me to where, Lionel." He obviously didn't care for honorifics while drinking. The drake ignoring the pair as she bit into her meal. Her tail wagging lightly as if trying to remain balanced on top. "Still, Cenril is a major trade city, isn't it? Every nation is going to take a hit because of it. Tactically, if they have an issue with the world, they hit the right spot for a first swing."
Lionel agrees with Beldur. He taps his fingertips on the bar thoughtfully. “I know. I’m already beginning to see it in the papers at home here.” He winces at the word ‘home’; his actual place of residence is smoldering ruin now thanks to Kahran’s shadow strikes, his dwarven retainers dead. He steels himself with another swig; no sense getting carried off-topic. “Tradesmen can’t get all the raw materials they need for queued-up projects. The seafood market’s down across the board. And the nobles…” The arrival of two well-dressed Frost Giants -- a bit of an oddity in and of itself -- cuts him off. They’re garbed in rich red velvet and their hair is short-cropped silver. Lionel gives Beldur a brief nod to suggest that they’d best wrap up their chat and pay attention to the pair before hoisting himself up from his seat and bowing. “Amos,” he says to one, and then, “Avasarala,” to the other. The female Frost Giant bristles. “I am Avasarala,” she corrects. He’d gotten the order mixed-up. In truth, Lionel has never been able to tell the difference. They’re identical twins, and they present themselves as such. Underneath all that red velvet, any physical differences between them are hard to locate. “Right. Uh, this is Beldur.” He pats Beldur on the shoulder.
Beldur bows politely to the giant nobles as his shoulder was patted. The drake mearly looked up to see who showeded over her meal. Rather than a vicsious growl, it sounded more adorable behind them as she tried to protect her leg. Pulling it deeper on the bar till she, and her meal fell off. The errant looking over it to make sure she was alright. Once he realized she was fine and was attacking her meal again, he shakes his head before returning his attention to the pair. "It's good to meet you both."
Lionel | Amos leans over and smiles at Beldur’s drake. He digs into his traveler’s pouch and procures a fine-cut slice of raw beef, which he places upon her plate. Of the two nobles, Amos seems to be the more laid-back one. Avasarala is already putting on her all-business face as she nods curtly and begins. “Our textile profits have dropped 31%. This is an unacceptable loss, although I am not without sympathy for its cause. The supply route to Cenril has temporarily burst, and my heart goes out to that city’s victims. Even so, Frostmaw must come first. Amos and I are leaving our shop in capable hands as we prepare to retreat to our villa in the Southern Sage and plan commercial adjustments as befit the current climate.” Somewhere along the way, all of Avasarala’s finance-speak has caused Lionel’s eyes to close a little bit. This isn’t exactly his forte. Avasarala continues. “We will be there for the next few weeks, plotting a course for our trade.” Lionel watches as Amos gets up from interacting with Beldur’s pet and orders some spiced cider from the bar. “That makes sense,” Lionel answers Avasarala. “Do you need an escort?” Avasarala shakes her head. “Not… exactly. What we need is someone willing to be hired-on temporarily as our protector. I will explain more if you should happen to think you know anyone right for the job.” Lionel almost shrugs noncommittally. And then he glances at Beldur. “Maybe I do.”
Beldur nods his head in thanks at Amos's gesture. It wouldn't be hard to imagine his thought as the drake, full of goat leg, climbed up with a rounded belly. Spotting the beef, she would eagerly spring on it as her master sighed. His own eyes started drooping at the talk of trade. But he would take a long swig of the alcohol, the drink sending a shiver down his spine allowing him to focus. Letting Lionel do the talking at the moment, though he raises a brow at the man when he glanced to him. "I see the steam coming off your head, Master Lionel."
Lionel frowns and taps his scalp an instant before he realizes Beldur was using an unfamiliar idiom. “Yeah,” he admits, “I’m spinning a few ideas. I guess it kind of depends on the rest of Miss Avasarala’s story, though.” He quiets down so that she may continue, but it’s actually Amos -- now clutching a goblet of spiced cider with both thick Frost Giant hands -- who tells the rest of the tale. “We’ve got a problem,” he says plainly. “We exchange letters with our villa’s head housekeeper. She says strange shapes have been moving near the gates at night. She’s an elf, so of course her first fear is drow, but these don’t sound like drow. Some of the maids have been saying they’re big, lumbering shapes, and they think they’ve seen flashes of steel from blades, too. Simply put, we’re worried for our lives.” Avasarala adds, “and the lives of our workers, too, of course. And the villa itself. We need someone who will help set up defenses and ward off possible attack. Maybe even go out there at night and see what is happening. It is a very dangerous job, but they will be handsomely rewarded for the effort. Not only in gold, but in prestige.” Lionel sighs into his ale horn and then winks at Beldur. “Hell of a thing, but it’s yours if you want it.” Amos and Avasarala blink and watch Beldur for a reaction.
Beldur raises a brow as Amos finished the tale. Looking to Lionel as he sighs. "Sounds like I'll be needing a hand or two." His turn to pat Lionel's shoulder as he smirks. The drake looking up from her meal and blows a shallow cone at Lionel. Her breath weapon still far from being lethal every time, and this wasn't one of those times.
Lionel | The urge to sneeze seizes Lionel’s nostrils again when the drake’s conical burst forces him to move a few inches. He raises a brow at her. She almost seems to raise one back somehow, which is curious given her lack of brows. “I think you will,” he agrees, “although I’m swamped with plenty of things as-is. So, here’s what we’ll do: I’ll assign you a couple of Frostmawian soldiers, Beldur. They’ll be under your command entirely. You might want to grab one or two additional companions if you know anyone looking for work.” His eyes flick between Beldur and the two nobles as he carries on, confirming a plan that will affect them all. “Head down there and see what’s happening. If you need reinforcements, send a raven and let me know. Pull this off and I’ll make sure you’ve got a higher rank up here going forward. If you want it, that is.” He grins knowingly. Avasarala reaches into her coin purse and hands Beldur a slip of paper; on it, the word ‘1,000’ is etched. “This is a promise for gold before you leave the city with us,” she explains. “You’ll have another 7,000 waiting for you if you can solve this crisis for my family.”